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Today is National Bike to School Day!

As the national clearinghouse for the Federal Highway Administration that organizes registration for this event, we at the National Center for Safe Routes To School are truly amazed that the question isn’t, “Will Bike to School Day be a success?” but “How big will Bike to School Day be this year?”

Participation for Bike to School Day continues to grow, and it's all because of the enthusiasm and commitment of thousands of parents, school administrators, elected officials, students, and community leaders. The number of 2015 Bike to School Day registered events has already surpassed the number of 2014 events registered on www.walkbiketoschool.org.  In fact, as of this morning, we already have 2,377 events!  And that number is only expected to grow as celebrations continue throughout National Bike Month...

Bike to school day participation statistics over time

Continue Reading Welcome to Bike To School ››
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With America's population expected to grow by 70 million over the next 30 years, moving the goods that enrich our lives --and the freight that fuels our economy-- will be a key challenge.  As our Beyond Traffic draft framework indicates, by 2045, the volume of goods on our roads, rail, air, and water will increase 45 percent or more.

Because tomorrow's looming increase will pose a significant burden on our transportation system, we must prepare to handle that freight now by developing and investing in solutions today.  The good news is that DOT is working to do just that.

Our Nation’s navigable waterways offer us a terrific, underused resource, and the Maritime Administration’s Marine Highway Program works to incorporate that excess capacity into the U.S. transportation system --especially where marine transportation services present the most efficient and sustainable freight option. Continued development and investment along these 22 all-water Marine Highway Routes will provide more choices to shippers, help alleviate road and rail congestion, and accommodate future freight growth.

Just last week, Secretary Foxx designated three new marine highway projects aimed at making these waterborne routes seamless extensions of America’s transportation system and helping move us Beyond Traffic...

Barges on AMH

Continue Reading With new projects, America’ ››
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Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of welcoming law enforcement trainers from across the county to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Training Center for our inaugural Large Truck and Bus Traffic Enforcement Train-the-Trainer course.

We designed this unique training specifically for our law enforcement partners.  Our goal is simple: We want all police officers trained to focus on commercial vehicle traffic enforcement.

This is just one piece of FMCSA’s broader efforts to reduce the number of fatalities on our roadways involving large trucks and buses...

Bus inspector

Continue Reading Strengthening Truck and Bus ››
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We're now into the first full week of May, and that means it's National Bike Month, a celebration of transportation and recreation using pedal power.

Fast Lane readers might recall that this past January, I challenged city leaders to raise the bar for bicyclist and pedestrian safety by joining a year-long “Mayors' Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets.” In March, we launched the Challenge during a Mayors' Summit, and now participants are busy pursuing seven challenge activites designed to make biking and walking safer --and consequently a more realistic transportation option-- in their cities.

Across America, many communities have a full slate of events this month to help people make bicycling a more regular choice for transportation. 

Bike Month poster

Continue Reading National Bike Month begins ››
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Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation is issuing a Final Rule that will enhance the safety of transporting flammable liquids –including crude oil and ethanol– by rail.

Secretary Foxx with Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt

We are in the midst of an unprecedented increase in North American energy production.  This boom in continental production has pushed America's dependence on foreign oil to a 40 year low, created jobs, and helped grow the U.S. and Canadian economies.

It also means that petroleum crude oil and ethanol are being shipped by rail in much larger quantities, and over much greater distances. In 2014, nearly 500,000 carloads containing more than 410 million barrels of Canadian and U.S. crude oil were transported by rail in the United States, and 99.9 percent reached their destination without incident. 

The accidents that have occurred, though –involving both crude and ethanol– have had significant and devastating consequences to local communities and the environment. They have shown us that 99.9 percent isn’t good enough. We have to strive for perfection, and today's rule moves us closer to that goal...

Continue Reading New Final Rule offers ››
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The flying public scored a big win today with the completion of an air traffic system that will significantly improve air travel through every phase of flight.

Transportation Secretary Foxx and I were pleased to announce this morning that the En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), a highly advanced computer system used by air traffic controllers to safely manage and separate aircraft, is now complete.

FAA Administrator Huerta at ERAM announcement

Looking at the future of air travel, we know that there will be more planes in our skies and more people in our airports. To meet this challenge we must integrate cutting-edge technology into our aviation system.  ERAM is a major step forward in our relentless efforts to develop and implement NextGen.  With this new technology, passengers will be able to get to their destinations, faster, safer, and have a smoother ride – all while burning less fuel to get there...

Continue Reading The backbone of NextGen is ››
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Fast Lane readers have probably noticed that traffic congestion is on the rise because of higher volume on our roadways, which means more stress on pavements. And because one of the Federal Highway Administration’s primary goals is to ensure the nation’s highway system is maintained in a state of good repair, that means greater stress on our resources.

But the longer lasting pavement sought by our Long-Term Pavement Performance research program would help state and local DOTs to stretch their budgets. It would also mean fewer damaging potholes for drivers.

At FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, we have a machine that specifically helps us understand pavement durability. It’s called the Accelerated Load Facility, or the “ALF,” and it does just what the name suggests: it simulates the effects of many years of heavy traffic in just a few months...

Paving

Continue Reading Researching Ways to Keep ››
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For a very long time, transportation planners have measured the success of our transportation network by looking at its hardware: How many cars can travel across a road and how fast? How often buses do arrive and are they on schedule? What is the pavement condition and how quickly is it deteriorating?

And while these measures are valuable, they ignore the end users of our system —the people.  Every day, millions of Americans use our transportation system to reach jobs, schools, healthcare, shopping, friends, and family. How long it takes and how much it costs them to accomplish these daily tasks is an important measure that we call connectivity

Connectivity measures how well the transportation network connects people to the places they need to go. And last Monday, DOT hosted more than 75 State DOTs, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), transit agencies, national associations, researchers, and other federal agencies to talk about the importance of connectivity in their daily work...

Map showing Equitable Target Areas

Continue Reading DOT Connectivity Roundtable ››
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Every day, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration works to identify and force the recall of vehicles and products with safety-related defects to protect the American people from harm. In 2014, NHTSA's work led to 803 recalls involving 63.9 million vehicles—the highest number of vehicle recalls in more than three decades. The year also saw two of the ten largest recalls in history.

Over the last several months, we’ve been improving how we identify vehicle defects. But it’s not enough to just identify defects —protecting the public means ensuring that those defects are remedied. Yet, today, 20 percent or more of recalled vehicles go unrepaired, and that poses its own safety challenge.

Remedying recalls is a collaborative effort, so yesterday at DOT Headquarters, we brought together all of the players —manufacturers, dealers, automotive safety advocates, and others— to brainstorm around the best ideas. Recent high-profile recalls have taught us important lessons about the obstacles to higher completion rates, and we brought everyone to the table to help spread those lessons and develop new approaches to the recall process...

Secretary Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind at Retooling Recalls workshop

Continue Reading Retooling Recalls: NHTSA ››
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If you're not a datahead, you might have missed this news.  Last month, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that, "U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 848.1 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in 2014."

Sure, 848 million is a lot of passengers, and more often than not, that would be interesting enough.  But today we want to go one better than the absolute number of enplanements; we want to talk about the "all-time high."  Because the previous record high was reached in 2007, and that means that, after the brutal recession, air travel --and the economy-- are truly back.

Want to see the relationship between economic activity and air travelers without pesky numbers getting in the way?  Thanks to BTS, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and a little spreadsheet wizardry, you can:

Air passengers and GDP by year

Continue Reading Record 2014 airline ››
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